The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) is established under, and operates in accordance with, the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Act 2001. The role of VEAC is to conduct investigations and assessments as requested by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, relating to the protection and ecologically sustainable management of the environment and natural resources of public land.

Prior to a new investigation occurring, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) advertises the proposed terms of reference for the investigation, for public comment. Based on feedback received, DELWP then reviews and finalises the terms of reference, before the Minister provides a request for investigation to VEAC. Once VEAC has completed an investigation, they must submit a written report to the Minister that includes any recommendations resulting from the investigation. The Victorian Government then responds to VEAC's recommendations within six months. DELWP coordinates the process within government.

In September 2016, the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Act 2001 was amended to enable the Minister to request that VEAC conduct shorter assessments or advice for matters that do not require an investigation (for example, a matter that has a limited scale or scope, or due to its technical nature).

For further information on VEAC, including current and completed investigations and assessments, visit the VEAC website.

On 20 March 2017, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change asked VEAC to carry out an investigation into public land in the central west of Victoria, including the Wombat, Wellsford, Mount Cole and Pyrenees Range forests within the area shown on the Investigation Map.

The purpose of the investigation is to:

  • identify and evaluate the condition, natural and cultural values and the current uses of public land in the specified area, and
  • make recommendations for the balanced use and appropriate management arrangements to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural values.

The investigation will occur over two years and include two public submission periods. The final report is due by March 2019.

During November 2016, the government invited public comments on the proposed terms of reference and area for the investigation.The final terms of reference, and a summary of how the government addressed public comments received during this period, have been provided to Parliament.

For further information about the Central West Investigation, including how to get involved, visit the VEAC website.

Under Section 26B of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Act 2001, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change has requested that VEAC carry out an assessment of the viability of and capacity for, current volumes and potential fibre and wood supply areas in state forests in the Central Highlands, North East, Gippsland and East Gippsland regional forest agreement areas.

The purpose of the investigation is to:

  1. Identify the current, and currently projected, fibre and wood supply to industry from the specified area. The Council is required to take into consideration current contractual supply commitments
  2. Identify the current and likely future constraints to this supply
  3. Report on public land use and management
  4. Report on the viability of and capacity for current and potential wood and fibre supply over appropriate time scales.

VEAC is due to provide the final report to the Minister by 28 April 2017 and the government will then respond to the assessment within six months.

Fibre and Wood Supply Assessment Terms of Reference  (PDF, 48.3 KB)
Fibre and Wood Supply Assessment Terms of Reference (DOCX, 37.9 KB)

The Victorian Government Response to VEAC’s Marine Investigation was tabled in Parliament and released on 31 August 2016. The government has responded to the recommendations made by VEAC in its report that was publicly released in April 2014.

The government response supports all of VEAC's recommendations in full or in principle.

VEAC Marine Government Response  (PDF, 362.8 KB)
VEAC Marine Government Response (DOCX, 1.2 MB)

In September 2014 the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change asked VEAC to carry out an investigation into public land in Victoria in order to provide updated information for public land management.

The final terms of reference for the investigation were determined following a public consultation process during August and September 2014. The statement specifying how comments received on the terms of reference were dealt with and the final terms of reference were tabled in Parliament on 17 September 2014.

Terms of Reference for Statewide Assessment (PDF, 46.9 KB)
Terms of Reference for Statewide Assessment (DOCX, 20.5 KB)

Response to submissions on the proposed terms of reference for Statewide Assessment (PDF, 48.8 KB)
Response to submissions on the proposed terms of reference for Statewide Assessment (DOC, 41.0 KB)

In March 2014, the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC to investigate historic places on public land in Victoria. On 31 August 2016, VEAC provided its Final Report on the Historic Places Investigation to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

On 7 June 2017, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change tabled the Victorian Government Response to VEAC's Historic Places Investigation Final Report in Parliament. The government has responded to the 11 recommendations made by VEAC and supported, supported in principle or in part, 10 of VEAC's 11 recommendations:

Completed VEAC Investigations

VEAC has recently completed the following investigations:

Marine Investigation (completed April 2014)

In October 2011, the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC investigate the performance and management of Victoria's existing marine protected areas, and the ongoing threats and challenges that these areas face into the future.

VEAC completed the investigation in April 2014 and made 38 recommendations in the Marine Investigation Final Report. The Victorian Government Response to VEAC's Marine Investigation was tabled in Parliament and released on 31 August 2016.

The government response supports all VEAC's recommendations in full or in principle.

Government Response to VEAC's Yellingbo Investigation

The VEAC Yellingbo Investigation was tabled in Parliament and released on 11 March 2014.

The government has responded to the recommendations made by VEAC in its report that was publicly released on 7 August 2013.

The government response supports all of VEAC's recommendations in full or in principle.

Victorian Government Response to the Yellingbo Investigation (PDF, 195.9 KB)
Victorian Government Response to the Yellingbo Investigation (DOCX, 18.7 KB)

Visit the VEAC website

Questions and Answers for the government response to Yellingbo Investigation (DOCX, 18.7 KB)

Government Response to VEAC's Investigation into Additional Prospecting Areas in Parks.

The Victorian Government Response to VEAC’s Investigation into Additional Prospecting Areas in Parks was tabled in Parliament and released on 4 February 2014. The government has responded to the recommendations made by VEAC in its report that was submitted to the then Minister on 31 May 2013.

The government response includes three main changes for recreational prospectors.

New areas for recreational prospecting

Eight new areas in parks will be opened up to recreational prospecting after legislation has been amended to allow this.

Maps of the new areas that will be made available for recreational prospecting are available on the VEAC website

Ban on mechanical devices

  • The use of sluices and mechanical (including motorised) devices for processing excavated material will be banned in national parks and other parks managed under the National Parks Act 1975 where recreational prospecting is currently permitted.
  • The ban will not apply to metal detectors.
  • Mechanical equipment that is currently permitted, can continue to be used outside parks in all other areas where prospecting is currently allowed.  VEAC estimated that the area of the state currently available for recreational prospecting outside parks is 4.81 million hectares of state forest and other categories.

Review of new areas

There will be a review of the environmental and cultural heritage impacts of recreational prospecting in the new areas twelve months after they are opened up. This will determine whether or not the new areas remain open for prospecting.

Research into the impacts of recreational prospecting

The need for longer term research will be guided by the 12 month review and may consider the potential effects of recreational prospecting in national and state parks, with a priority on impacts on waterways, ground flora and on Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage.

Miner's right obligations

The training and authorisation of Parks Victoria staff will be reviewed to ensure they can enforce the obligations of recreational prospectors under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990.

Information and communication

The government will review community information about the areas available for recreational prospecting, heritage responsibilities and safety information and will revise this information as needed.

Victorian Government Response to the Prospecting Investigation (PDF, 445.0 KB)
Victorian Government Response to the Prospecting Investigation (RTF, 78.7 KB)

VEAC's report and other details about the investigation are available from the VEAC website, including maps of the new areas that will be made available for recreational prospecting, subject to a 12 month review.

VEAC's report marked the completion of its role in the process. Visit the VEAC website